.

Four Zelie Area Men to Stand Trial for String of Burglaries

The men are charged with taking part in more than a dozen burglaries across Allegheny, Butler and Beaver counties last winter.

Four Zelienople area men will stand trial after being charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of guns, backpack blowers and other property during a string of daytime burglaries last year in Allegheny, Butler and Beaver counties.

Playing a central role in the charges is 28-year-old Stephen M. Rausch, of Magill
Road, Zelienople, who admitted to taking part in more than a dozen burglaries last November and December, according to a criminal complaint.

Rausch will be formally arraigned Sept. 11 at the Butler County Court of Common Pleas along with

  • Zachary Allan Patton, 26, of Rochester Road, Zelienople,
  • Rock Joseph Springer IV, 31, of Perry Highway, Harmony, and
  • Christopher Michael Friedman, 28, of Rolling Hills, Zelienople.

The men waived their Aug. 3 preliminary hearings before

The arrests followed a joint investigation involving police agencies from the three counties.

Rausch has been incarcerated in Bucks County Prison since April, according to online court documents. His bail is set at $100,000.

According to the criminal complaint filed by, Rausch arranged for the sale of several stolen backpack blowers, as well as a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, to a confidential informant working with investigators on Nov. 28.

The revolver had been reported stolen earlier that day from a home on Hartzell School Road in Marion Township, Beaver County, the complaint said.

Rausch, who is prohibited from possessing a firearm, admitted to stealing the revolver and providing it to Patton, the complaint states. He said Friedman also assisted him in the burglary, the complaint said.

The blowers, valued at more than $2,000, were stolen the previous night from JML Landscaping in Cranberry, according to police.

Rausch told police he received the backpack blowers from Patton and was helping him sell them, the complaint states.

He said Friedman assisted him in the burglary, the complaint said.

Rausch said Patton and Friedman assisted him in the following burglaries, according to court documents:

  • Nov. 29: More than $2,000 worth of property stolen from a home on Locust Road in Marshall Township.
  • Dec. 2: More than $2,000 worth of property stolen from a home on Nicholson Road in Franklin Park.
  • Dec. 5: More than $2,000 worth of property stolen from a home on Callery Road in Cranberry.
  • Dec. 6: More than $2,000 worth of property stolen from a home on Garvin Road in Cranberry.
  • Dec. 12: More than $200 worth of property stolen from a home on Steiner Bridge Road in Middlesex Township. More than $200 worth of property stolen from a home on McMorran Road in Richland Township.
  • Dec. 21: Revolver stolen from a home on Mary Freed Lane in Economy, Beaver County. The revolver was later traded for drugs in the Pittsburgh area, according to the complaint.

Rausch also told investigators Freidman and Springer assisted him in the following burglaries, according to the criminal complaint:

  • Dec. 16: More than $2,000 worth of property stolen from a home on Monks Road in Saxonburg and more than $2,000 worth of property taken from a home on Sandy Hill Road in Valencia. Rausch also told police he, Friedman and Springer stole more than $2,000 worth of property from a home on Vandivort Drive in Cranberry the same day.

Rausch also admitted to forcing open the door to a home on Mars Evans City Road in Forward Township on Nov. 18 and stealing a .22 caliber revolver, plus more than $200 worth of property, court documents state.

Rausch and Freidman sold the gun to at the Chick-fil-A restaurant in Cranberry in late November, the complaint said. 

Rausch and Freidman also burglarized a home on Shuster Road in West Deer Township on Dec. 20, stealing more than $2,000 worth of items, according to the criminal complaint.

In addition, Rausch is charged with assisting in stealing more than $200 worth of copper wiring from ASCC Inc. on Wisconsin Avenue in Cranberry on Nov. 12.

Surveillance video shows the two men loading the wiring into the trunk of a vehicle, the complaint said. They later sold the copper wiring at J.W. Marshall in Middlesex Township, according to investigators.

Rausch is charged with the following:

  • 13 felony counts of burglary,
  • 13 felony counts of criminal attempt of burglary,
  • 13 felony counts of criminal trespass,
  • 14 felony counts of criminal use of a communication facility,
  • 9 felony counts of theft,
  • 10 felony counts of receiving stolen property,
  • 5 misdemeanor counts of theft,
  • 5 counts of misdemeanor receiving stolen property and
  • 3 counts of criminal mischief for damage to property.

Springer is charged with the following:

  • 3 felony counts of burglary,
  • 3 felony counts of conspiracy to commit burglary,
  • 3 felony counts of theft,
  • 3 felony counts of receiving stolen property,
  • 3 felony counts of criminal trespass,
  • 1 felony count of receiving stolen property and
  • 1 count of criminal mischief for damage to property.

 Patton is charged with the following:

  • 8 felony counts of burglary,
  • 9 felony counts of conspiracy to commit conspiracy,
  • 7 felony counts of criminal trespass,
  • 9 felony counts of receiving stolen property,
  • 7 felony counts of theft,
  • 33 felony counts of criminal use of a communications facility,
  • 1 misdemeanor count of theft,
  • 1 misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property,
  • 1 misdemeanor count of criminal mischief for damage to property.

 Freidman is charged with the following:

  • 14 felony counts of burglary,
  • 14 counts of conspiracy to commit burglary,
  • 13 felony counts of criminal trespass,
  • 11 felony counts of theft,
  • 11 felony counts of receiving stolen property,
  • 13 felony counts of criminal use of a communications facility,
  • 3 misdemeanor counts of theft,
  • 4 misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property and
  • 3 counts of criminal mischief. 

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »